Blackpool Bingo Venue Plan Revived

Plans to launch a new bingo and slots gaming venue in the coastal resort of Blackpool are back on the agenda despite a recent setback.

Gambling operator Cashino Gaming has appealed against an initial refusal of planning permission for the scheme, which would see the company take over a former Coral betting shop on Abingdon Street in the city. The firm has also resubmitted its application for a gambling licence.

Councillors in Blackpool had initially rejected the proposed adult gaming centre, citing planning and licensing concerns. In particular, the councillors were concerned about the risk of attracting anti-social behaviour and the possibility of vulnerable local residents being encouraged to gamble.

But Cashino Gaming, which operates in the UK under the name Merkur Slots, has returned to its plans and signalled that it would be willing to agree to more stringent conditions to allay the councillors’ concerns. They have submitted documents to a licensing panel, which is set to decide the application later this month.  

The conditions that have been applied to the application include the installation of a comprehensive CCTV system, as well as the use of a log book that would be used to record any crimes, complaints or incidents of anti-social behaviour. In addition, anyone judged to have been drinking would not be permitted on the premises, which would have a closing time of 01:00.

At a previous hearing, a solicitor for the firm said they had robust procedures in place to address any concerns. But some councillors had warned that high levels of deprivation, homelessness and crime in that area had raised worries about the impact of a late night gambling venue.

In reaching its decision to reject the application, the planning panel said the risk assessment provided as part of the application was not sufficient to address the risks.

But the company are hopeful that the renewed application will go further. Back in August, the neighbouring Wyre Council approved a gambling licence for a Merkur Slots arcade on another former betting shop site. The company currently operates 162 adult gaming centres across the UK, along with amusement arcades and bingo halls. The application is set to be heard on October 12.

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